I stepped outside today and greeted the Amazon Prime delivery van. I had not ordered anything from Amazon Prime and although I pay for Amazon Music Unlimited, the idea that Amazon has fleets of distribution vehicles ready to move along my small town streets evoked a inner sentimentality. I snapped a picture of the van and asked the driver had she found the right address. She replied swiftly and obliged my joy about the “prime” moniker and how I enjoyed Amazon products. Momentarily, it seemed like I had left Louisiana and was not in a backyard crossing the street.
I snapped this photograph:
I remember the first time I accepted my call to artistry and realized the scorn and hatred I might face.
With the live action version of Johnathan Larson’s “RENT” coming to network television soon, I recalled the impoverished African-American woman who asked “Mark” (Anthony Rapp) , a struggling New York artist for a dollar. When he could not deliver it and gazed upon her with sorrow, I thought about how artists are like the homeless. We’re looking for home among citizens who have branded us as a strange and peculiar people. A “starving artist” is truly a living organism, and not just an expression levied by non-artists for comedic purposes.
We, artists are almost self-flagellating in our creative pursuit. People do not need to explain to us that the entertainment, journalism, and media avenues are over-run with facsimiles of the same vision. We search for the same destination: acknowledgement, acceptance and above all compensation for our gifts.
I was captivated by Amazon. You could almost say I had imagined that I saw a blinding bit of sun. Surely, the van and the person are just accomplishing a goal. The van is being used to transport objects. The woman is earning her pay.
Maybe my face was happy for a wonderful day or the idea of feeling accomplished… or was it just feeling connected to someone or something.
I write to connect. And maybe I need that small moment in time to remind me that being a writer is a brave, honest pursuit even if nobody bothers to see what words can do.
Artists like me are often fearful of their crafts because words have power. And often that power is spat on, thrown out, and ultimately silenced.
I’m a starving artist hoping that someone in the crowd sees my truth. If I don’t have money, my art is still viable or important.
As a black artist, I’m mindful not to let my race or more prominently…. my culture limit that long-term vision. It just needs tweaking, and the community near me needs refreshing… needs updating.
But to not write… because we fear the reflection must be conquered. I will keep being inspired even if no one reads this.